Sport Josh Green: How the athletic Australian wing can crack the Dallas Mavericks' rotation in 2021-22

19:16  28 september  2021
19:16  28 september  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Aussie Josh Green enters his second season with the Dallas Mavericks in search of meaningful rotation minutes after a slow start to his NBA career.

The 20-year-old averaged just 2.6 points and 2.0 rebounds in 39 games in 2020-21, with minutes hard to come by on a Mavericks team eyeing playoff success. The balance of developing young players and winning games is a delicate juggling act and for Green, although he showed flashes of what he can bring to the rotation, the minutes weren't really there for him to make a consistent impact.

With Jason Kidd replacing Rick Carlisle as head coach in the offseason, Green has an opportunity to find minutes on the wing with Kidd indicating as much in his introductory press conference.

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"We feel like if we get the right guys on the coaching staff that have developed before we have done it at a very high level," Kidd said.

"We feel that, with a little hard work and some fun, we can get a Josh Green to the next level; that’s why we’re here. We’re here to help develop. It’ll be fun but everybody has to do their part and it starts with hard work."

Led by Luka Doncic, the Mavericks are looking to take the next step after two straight first-round exits. They bolstered their wing depth this summer, adding Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown in free agency. Dorian Finney-Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. will likely start on the wings, making competition for minutes just as tough this time around.

While the No. 18 overall pick in the 2020 NBADraft showed flashes of his defensive potential, using his size, athleticism and physicality in one-on-one situations, he still has a ways to go becoming a reliable team defender at the NBA level. His physical gifts have all the makings of an impactful wing defender and although the numbers don't necessarily paint that picture, he had a few encouraging moments when given consistent court time.

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In a May win over the Miami Heat, Green almost single-handedly turned the tide of the game in his 24 minutes, disrupting pick-and-rolls, diving for loose balls and getting out in transition to help the Mavs seize momentum, looking every bit as advertised on draft night.

His activity and defensive potential will get him on the court, but as a prototypical 3-and-D player, his shooting will keep him there. To date, the sample size of Green's shooting from deep leaves plenty of room for improvement, connecting on just 16 percent of his triples last season (4-for-25). He'll have to make a big improvement knocking down shots, beginning from the corners and in catch-and-shoot opportunities as the players in front of him in the rotation — Hardaway Jr., Bullock, Finney-Smith and Brown — all shot 39-plus percent from the 3-point line last season.

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Green, who helped the Australian Boomers win bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, has made shooting a focus in the offseason and relished the experience playing alongside NBA snipers Patty Mills and Joe Ingles in Tokyo.

"I think being around some of the best shooters in the world [with] Australia, Joe [Ingles ] and Patty [Mills] and Chris Goulding, these are some players I've been able to practice with every single day," Green said.

"Going against Patty every single day, being able to go against them, I've been able to learn so much and to be able to do it in a FIBA setting has helped me be able to slow down and be able to see the court more and take the game one step at a time.

"I feel like it's going to help me a lot at the NBA level."

With training camp set to get underway next week, the Mavs are hopeful Green's second-year leap will see him blossom into a versatile 3-and-D option under Jason Kidd.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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